‘Constellation’ Review The Sci-Fi Thriller Has Made A Stellar Start

The first three episodes have set up an excellent psychological thriller!

Apple TV is no stranger to sci-fi, having already delivered hits such as For All Mankind, Silo, and Severance. They have added another intriguing series to their lineup with Constellation. Launched with a three-episode premiere, the initial episodes set up a fascinating plot. However, you must devote your full attention, as the mind-bending storyline is sure to leave your head spinning.

It’s a psychological thriller with elements of horror, but be prepared: it starts off slow and is hard to follow at first. It takes all three of the episodes available this week to even begin to untangle its plot. However, it’s in the third episode that the show finds its direction and begins to unravel. I understand why Apple has premiered this with three episodes; its third is a crucial episode and the one that will ensure we come back for the fourth.

Apple TV+

We are introduced to life on the International Space Station (ISS) by Swedish astronaut Jo Ericsson (Noomi Rapace) on a year-long multinational mission involving NASA, the Russian space agency, and the European space agency. A sudden collision causes substantial damage to the ISS, Jo and her colleagues race against time and dwindling oxygen levels to repair the damage.

Watching from Earth is Jonathan Banks’ character, Bud Caldera, a former Apollo 18 astronaut and Nobel Prize-winning physicist. Caldera has made a groundbreaking discovery: a new state of matter that can only exist in zero gravity, which the astronauts were experimenting with aboard the ISS (are you still with me?). As chaos erupts after the collision, Bud’s main concern appears to be for his experiment rather than for those on board.

With oxygen levels dangerously low enough to support only one person, the ISS is evacuated, leaving Jo on her own to repair as much damage as she can. Her final hours on the ISS are littered with hallucinations as scenes flitter back and forth between the ISS and a sinister, frigid, snow-swept cabin where Jo is staying with her daughter Alice (played by twins Rosie & Davina Coleman). And, just like Jo, we are kept in a perpetual state of confusion.

It’s not until Jo returns to Earth in episode three that things start to come together. Jo’s world is somehow different: her car that was once red is now blue, her daughter doesn’t ‘smell’ the same, and her once happy marriage now has an eerie distance. And with Caldera’s explanation of quantum physics to Alice, the show sets its path.

Apple TV+

These first episodes flick back, forth, and side to side with scenes of Jo’s hallucinations in the cabin, her life with her husband Magnus (James D’Arcy) and Alice, the ISS, and Bud Caldera. It can be disorienting, but it’s never boring.

Both Jonathan Banks and Noomi Rapace deliver outstanding performances. Rapace captures Jo’s dread perfectly, portraying her with anxiety and fear as she grapples with her perception of reality. Is she even the same person she was when she departed? Banks delivers as the haunted Caldera, a troubled man with a questionable past who looks to hold the answers that Jo needs.

Apple TV+

Constellation is a tense and atmospheric psychological thriller that has made a fascinating start, it’s an excellent blend of horror and human psychology full of twists and turns and I’m looking forward to it all unraveling over the coming weeks.

You can watch the first three episodes of Constellation now on Apple TV+ the remaining five will be available weekly.

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